— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) September 25, 2018
Most viewers who tune into tonight’s Thursday Night Football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the LA Rams will hear the familiar broadcast combo of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on FOX. Amazon Prime, which has streaming rights for TNF this season, will also offer the broadcast combo of Buck and Aikman. However, Amazon Prime will also offer three additional audio options for fans. Those options will include the Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm broadcast, a Spanish-language broadcast and a United Kingdom broadcast.
This is a great move by Amazon. In addition to hiring the first all-female NFL broadcast duo, Amazon is offering fans more content and more options. It’s also part of a recent trend in sports broadcasting that deemphasizes the role of a typical play-by-play broadcaster.
In an interview with The New York Times, Storm said “if you had to, you would say that I was doing play-by-play and Andrea is doing analysis, but I don’t think that you should be thinking of this in typical terms of the way that a broadcast is done.” This concept should be familiar to Patriots fans, as the Patriots have gone a similar route for their preseason games recently. On television in 2017 and radio in 2018 Dan Roche was technically the play-by-play person, but the focus was more on the conversation about the team rather than the typical play-by-play. The concept has also been used by TNT for some of its NBA coverage on Players Only broadcasts which featured only former players and no traditional play-by-play person.
This style may not be for everyone, but it is fair to at least ask the question, “Why do we still broadcast games the way Vin Scully did them 70 years ago?” Scully may be the best of all time, but with the box score in my hand on my iPhone why do I need a traffic cop on the broadcast to tell me the score every 90 seconds?
I don’t know if Amazon’s announcement will result in a spike of Amazon Prime subscriptions before tonight’s game but, as someone who already subscribes to Amazon Prime, I will definitely check out the Kremer/Storm broadcast tonight. I will also be checking out the United Kingdom broadcast. I can’t wait to see how the Brits describe some bone-crushing hits.